TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Betty Sembler as the 17th Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sembler, who received a 0,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Drug Free America.
Sembler has given countless hours of her time and considerable amounts of money to charitable causes in the Tampa Bay area. She dedicated more than four decades to fighting drug use. In 1976, she was one of ten founding members of a nonprofit adolescent drug treatment program based in St. Petersburg, successfully treating more than 12,000 youth with drug addiction in cities all over the United States. Sembler then turned to establishing a national drug policy to reinforce the four critical fronts to combat drug abuse: education, treatment, interdiction and law enforcement.
Countless young adults have rejected drug use in the Tampa Bay area and across the state of Florida because of Sembler's efforts to support drug education. For the past five years, an annual drug summit has been hosted in Tampa through DFAF with the support and leadership of Sembler that keeps prevention, treatment, law enforcement and health officials informed about drug use.
Sembler becomes the 246th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a 0 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted 2.45 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. Last summer, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another 0-million over the next five seasons.